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Five The Heritage The Confederados' Contributions to Brazilian Agriculture, Religion, and Education James M. Dawsey and Cyrus B. Dawsey In his study "Confederate Emigration to Brazil, 1865-1870," Douglas A. Grier raised a question that he called "perhaps the most important question that the historian must ask about the emigration movement" to Brazil: "What contributions, if any, did the Americans make to Brazil's economic and cultural progress?'" This topic was of interest to Sarah Bellona Smith Ferguson also, for, as we have seen, she ended her account by interspersing examples of changes that had occurred in Brazil since the days of her childhood with examples of contributions to the development of Brazilian society made by Americans and Englishmen, concluding that "these will show what foreigners have done for Brazil." To her mind, Brazil would have remained as it had been in the days of the cart men and muleteers "ifEngland and other nations had not come and built railroads and developed the country ." She claimed that Americans introduced the first trollies, grapes, and plows into Brazil, and she implied that foreigners were responsible for such developments as brick houses, modern stoves, kitchen utensils, beds, soft pillows, shoes and socks, and the pulpador (coffee pounder).2 Here, Bellona repeated a view that was common among the early confederados. As expressed by another emigre in 1872, foreigners "flocked into Brazil ... [and] established railroads, telegraphs, steam power, machinery, agriculture with the plow, masonry, and Protestantism. All these new ideas from abroad (for this race has invented nothing) are admired and adopted."3 Grier too expressed the opinion that American emigration had a substantial influence on the economic and technological development of Brazil . As evidence of "an impact far out of proportion to its meager numbers," he listed the new technology, especially agricultural technology that the Americans took with them to South America. He enumerated the metaltipped plow, the kerosene lamp, the sewing machine, the buckboard, a The Heritage process for distilling sugarcane into rum, a simplified procedure for surveying land, and the introduction offour new crops-upland cotton, rattlesnake watermelons, grapes, and pecans. Although some scholars have attributed these advances to the emigrants, we should not overstate the importance of the Southern colonists to the economic and technological development of Brazil. As we have seen in chapter 4, the emigration of the confederado farmers fits within the broader framework of economic development where the periphery planters supplied raw materials to the industrialized center. Not just instruments for economic development, the Southern emigrants were themselves being moved by greater forces at work in the world's economy. The high price of cotton on the international market in the 1860s had led to the expansion of cotton plantations in the province of Sao Paulo, and the Brazilian planters themselves were seeking better agricultural technology. In a report to the Auxiliador da Industria Nacional three Americans noted as early as 1867 that the Brazilians spoke of cotton as a money crop. The Brazilians, they said, were seeking the best seeds to plant and the best tools with which to cultivate the cotton's growth. They had experimented with several different types of plows but had found none that were satisfactory. In conclusion, the Americans noted that they expected the Brazilians, who were very smart, soon to find the tools corresponding to their needs.4 The Southern emigres provided some of the know-how being sought by the Brazilians. Col. William Norris's activities when first arriving in Brazil illustrate the larger economic forces at work. He arrived as a cotton planter, but during that first year he actually made more money demonstrating the use of the American plow than producing his own cotton crop. Norris was hired byJose Vergueiro, owner of the Fazenda Ibicala in Limeira, to teach Southern agricultural methods to his employees. Eventually,Jose Vergueiro became the largest cotton producer in Brazil.5 The kind of cotton technology that the Southerners took with them from the South of the United States to Brazil followed the development of the periphery and probably would have been introduced even without the emigration of that particular group. A different type of example is to be found with the textile mill Carioba, founded in 1875 in the vicinity of American settlement. The founders were not North Americans but the Brazilians Antonio and Augusto de Souza Queiroz, who hired the Southern engineer William P. Ralston to help set up the factory. A few years later it was sold to...


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